Foundation awards more than $8,000 in grants

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The MCPASD Education Foundation handed out 10 grants to five schools as part of its third fall bus tour on Wednesday, Dec. 2.

Staff members to receive grants included West Middleton's Julie Tofte and Lindsey Hellenbrand; Sauk Trail's Andrea Lindberg and Ann O'Rourke; Northside's Raelynn Bodell, Ami Schmidt and Tracy Hellenbrand, and the third-grade teaching team; Clark Street Community School's Jason Pertzborn; and Middleton High School's Kevin Bavery, Steve Kurr, and Jacquelyn Curran and Melissa Burgos.

The Foundation handed out more than $8,300 as part of its fall cycle. That total included a $1,250 grant from the State Bank of Cross Plains that focuses on financial literacy. In addition, Monsanto donated $750 that was used as part of the general grant fund.

The Foundation has handed out more than 50 grants totaling approximately $36,000 since it begin issuing grants in 2013. Every District school has received multiple grants.

Since its inception in 2011, the Foundation has also raised nearly $200,000 for its endowment fund though Madison Community Foundation. If you would like to contribute to the Foundation's endowment fund, please visit Foundation's website. If you would like to sponsor a grant in 2016, please e-mail Foundation executive director Perry Hibner or call him at 829-9014

To see photos from the event, please visit the District's Facebook page.

The nearly 2-hour yellow bus tour included stops at all of the schools. MHS band members played "On Wisconsin" in each of the schools before Hibner presented each recipient with flowers donated by Copps and a certificate.

"Our bus tours to announce our teacher grants is always an amazing experience, and this year was no exception,'' Hibner said. "It is always one of the highlights of the year. To see the looks on the students' and staff's faces when we arrive is priceless.

"We are thrilled to be able to help our wonderful teachers to transform their innovative and creative ideas into real-life ‘inspiring experiences’ for our students with a grant from the Foundation.''

Other Foundation board members who attended part or all of the celebration included Superintendent Don Johnson, chair Courtney Ward-Reichard, vice chair Rick Sanders and treasurer Steph Mueller.

The Foundation received a record 26 grant applications this fall. The 10 grants ties for the most the Foundation has awarded. Hibner also noted it is the first time every grant was funded fully during a cycle.

Tofte received $947 for a traveling library of books designed for students reading below grade level in grades 2-4.

"I am thrilled to have received this generous grant,'' she said. "The money will be used to stock a traveling library filled with quality books for teachers to be able to check out for specific units in our curriculum that match all readers. Thanks for making this possible.''

Hellenbrand received $500 to purchase supplies to assemble "break boxes" for each classroom in the school. The boxes will contain sensory items to help students renew concentration, calm down or re-energize for better learning results.

"Not only was I excited to receive the grant, several classroom teachers came up to me sharing how excited they were that their classroom would be getting a break box,'' she said. "Having additional tools in the classroom to support our students' emotional needs will be a great resource felt by all staff and students.''

Lindberg and O'Rourke were awarded $452 to support an after-school book club for third-graders.

Bodell was awarded $1,000 to purchase a bass xylophone and metallophone. These larger instruments allow students who are struggling with the coordination of playing a stringed or keyboard instrument the opportunity to be a successful part of the music making.

"The instruments will provide more opportunities for students with challenges to play in performance ensembles during music class and programs,'' she said. "All the students at Northside are excited to explore and play the new instruments.''

Schmidt and Hellenbrand are the leaders of Northside SPLASH committee and received $500 to purchase supplies for the advisory program, which was implemented last year. It is the second consecutive year the Foundation has provided support for the program.

The Northside third-grade team received $500 to purchase books aimed at students reading signifcantly below grade level.

Pertzborn was awarded $1,250 from the State Bank of Cross Plains to support a trip to New York City, where 17 students will participate in financial seminars to study the stock market and investments. It is the third straight year Pertzborn has been awarded a grant from the Foundation.

Bavery and the MHS physical education department received $2,000 to allow students of limited economic means to participate in off-campus field trips to ice rinks, golf course and bowling alleys.

Kurr was awarded $325 to support a performance of Threnody to the Victims of Hiroshima by composer Krzyszstof Penderecki at a recent MHS symphony orchestra concert. The students met with veterans and shared with they learned from this moving work in panel discussions.

"The Threnody for Victims of Hiroshima was an integral part of an unusual educational unit in orchestra  that included cross-disciplinary learning and community contact. It was a major part of a powerfully emotional concert program as well,'' Kurr said. "The generous grant from the Education Foundation helped provide a unique learning experience for our students.''

Burgos and Curan were awarded $1,000 to support a trip fo 16 students to Panama in 2016 to learn about rainforest ecology. The curriculum will focus on conservation, scientific practices, service to the community and science applications in a real-world setting.

"Jackie and I were blown away by the graciousness of the Education Foundation,'' Burgos said. "I wish everyone could have seen our faces when the band came strolling into our ASR. We were stunned and excited because it meant that we were one step closer to funding this amazing trip for students who, in most circumstances, wouldn't be able to afford a trip such as the one we are planning.

"As science teachers, we teach a lot about conservation, ecology, and how humans are making an impact on our larger global community. The ability to take kids on a trip to the rainforest to see first hand how people live symbiotically with nature, affect the rainforest, and can make an impact in their own local communities will be an unbelievable opportunity. We are so thankful!''